The suspension has stunned and outraged customers of TOD TV, which holds the rights to show the World Cup in Saudi Arabia. TOD TV is owned by Qatar’s beIN Sports Media Group.
Saudi-based subscribers who weren’t able to watch World Cup matches have flooded TOD TV’s Twitter account this week with refund requests and screenshots of the service’s website saying “Sorry, the requested page is violating the regulations of the Media Ministry.”
In a message shared by subscribers, TOD TV apologized to viewers “for the temporary loss of service.”
“This is due to reasons beyond our control,” it said. “We value our viewers having a premium user experience and are working on resuming normal services as soon as possible.”
TOD TV, the Saudi Media Ministry and Foreign ministry did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Qatar’s beIN group was caught in the crosshairs of a bitter political dispute between Riyadh and Doha in recent years. Saudi Arabia in 2017 led a group of four Arab countries in imposing a boycott on Qatar over its support for political Islamists, ties with Iran and its funding of Al Jazeera, a satellite news channel that has at times harshly criticized other Gulf Arab governments.